Category Archives: Chicken

Fast Food Reinterpreted

Fast food

Single click to see photo enlarged.

When I cook from a recipe book, I want to create that person’s vision of the meal before tampering with the ingredient list.  That is time consuming.  The other night I was hungry!  I needed some things at Trader Joe’s before dinner and grabbed a bag of “Trader Ming’s” Kung Pao Chicken” on impulse (after reading the label) intending to “wok” a fast meal, and was it fast!

I had purchased a Whole Foods in-store-pre-cut veggie mixture the day before and got that out.  After heating my wok the frozen pre-cooked chicken chunks hit the oil.  When it looked thawed and somewhat heated I dumped in the large package of fresh pre-cut veggies, plus the palm-sized frozen packet of veggies that came with the mix.  I stirred until the veggies were nearly cooked then added one of the two packets of frozen Kung Pao sauce.  Voila! A meal in 5 minutes.  No chopping. No cutting. No measuring. No waiting.  I have a better 5-minute-meal idea for next time, so come back and see, but this was delicious!

The “Trader Mings” Kung Pao Chicken Stir Fry ingredients are real food: chicken dark meat chunks, whole eggs, soy bean oil, water, cornstarch, chili powder, salt, white pepper in the meat chunks.  Frozen veggies were ginger, garlic, green onion, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, brown onion, fried dried chili, water chestnut, peanuts. Sauce was water, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, cornstarch, lime juice, ginger, garlic, green onion.

The veggie combo cut for me by Whole Foods included fresh zucchini chunks, snow peas, summer squash, red bell peppers, green bell peppers, red onion, cauliflower, broccoli, all as fresh as if I had cut them myself.

Without the time-saving ingredients I bought, I would have ended up eating something much less fresh and healthy.

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Filed under Chicken, Fast Healthy Cooking, Healthy cooking, meal in minutes, Wok cooking

Hong Kong-Style Mango Ginger Chicken

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I have often said that one or two great recipes make the purchase of a cookbook worthwhile.  This is one of those recipes. Absolutely delicious!  Grace Young deserves to have people rush out and buy her book, Stir-Frying To The Sky’s Edge, just based on this recipe alone, p.124-125.

This meal is attractive with complementary colors bright green (bell peppers) contrasting with bright yellow (mango).  The sauce had a spicy-sweet-tanginess.  I had almost forgotten the red pepper flakes until I detected the little kick of spicy heat.  The wine and soy sauce provided a counterpoint to the sweet, ripe fresh fruity mango taste .

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I prepared all my ingredients ahead of time, so when it came time to do the cooking, all were at my fingertips, which made the process more smooth.

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I made one noticeable error, though it did not ruin my meal.  When I read “2 TBSP lightly beaten egg whites”, I mentally translated that to one egg white.  Oops. Too much egg white.  That was clear as soon as I started mixing the chicken with egg white and cornstarch, etc, and it got very sticky.

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I increased the cornstarch amount until it got drier as I expected it should be, and that seemed to solve the problem reasonably, though there was a little cornstarch-egg white dough left over.

I did not understand why the first step is to boil the coated chicken rather than wok the chicken, but I was not about to find out, so followed the instructions.  Watching the chicken cook reminded me of watching German dumplings rise from the bottom of a pan.

Reading more about wok cooking I discovered that coating chicken with egg white, then cornstarch and briefly boiling chicken before cooking it is the “velvet chicken” technique, a way to render chicken tender and juicy.

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The green bell pepper looked lovely as it cooked with the onion.  My onion was closer to minced than thinly sliced, but it did not affect the flavor, only the appearance.

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The sauce turned out to be wonderful, and did not taste too salty to my low-salt taste buds.  I did substitute low sodium soy sauce and low sodium broth.

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This would make a perfect dish to serve for company.  The mango is a festive, luxurious ingredient.  I used Manila mangoes, which are my favorites, and might be the same as the specified ataulfo mangoes.  They look alike on internet photos.  I have never seen the term ataulfo mango used here. Since the cookbook’s photo of the meal showed an approximately equal amount of mango and bell pepper, I increased the mango to two Manila mangoes, as they are quite small.

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I am thankful for Trader Joe’s frozen, prepared brown rice, as so far, when wok-ing, I have not yet managed to also get rice cooked, except the microwavable packets.

Hong Kong- Style Mango Ginger Chicken was prepared as part of the Wok Wednesdays project :

http://wokwednesdays.wordpress.com/

All participants have agreed to not reveal the recipe out of respect for author, Grace Young.

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Filed under Chicken, Wok cooking